MICHAEL CARRICK is baffled by those who claim this has been his breakthrough season.
Robin van Persie may have grabbed all the headlines after scoring 26 goals in his debut year at Manchester United, but Carrick's input has been just as important in delivering Alex Ferguson a perfect send-off in the form of the Premier League title.
Over the last few years, Carrick has perhaps not received the recognition that his ability merits.
Since he moved from Tottenham in 2006, the midfielder has been a near ever-present in the United team, averaging around 45 games per season during a period that has seen the club win five titles, one Champions League and one League Cup.
The fact that he has been playing alongside Paul Scholes for the majority of that time is probably the reason why Carrick (pictured) has not received so much acclaim.
But now that age has caught up with a player who many regard as United's greatest ever midfielder, Carrick's contribution has been more widely noticed – much to his surprise.
"It slightly amuses me when I see or hear people saying different things (about me), as if I have suddenly appeared from nowhere," said Carrick.
"I have maybe played a little bit better than I have done in the past, but I have been happy with my form for a long time really.
"A couple of people say something and it snowballs from there.
"Obviously you have to be doing things right on the pitch, but it is slightly strange how it has come about this season."
To say Carrick has merely been doing "the right things" this season is quite an understatement.
The 31-year-old has completed 2147 passes in the league this year, second only to Arsenal's Mikel Arteta.
And what is more, United's Players' Player of the Season has a 90pc pass completion rate.
This has not gone unnoticed by Roy Hodgson. The England manager considers Carrick an integral part of his squad – he's likely to feature against Ireland on Wednesday at Wembley.